January 5, 2014

DIY Galaxy Fabric

Hello, Hello all of you!

So I said I was working on a project, right? Well, here you have it! I'm working on a galaxy print skirt, and decided to do it all from scratch to save money. The entire project cost less than 20 bucks, and that's counting all painting supplies - I but you could do it cheeper if you've already got those on hand.

This tutorial will come in two parts - the first, to describe how to make the print, and the second to make the skirt. I'll post that one on tuesday.

Now, I took a lot of inspiration from other people online. I did my research! Anyway, they deserve some credit, and they are worth checking out! Beatrice Rooker; letsgetthrifty; thesunwashigh... Some recommend using spray bottles of fabric paint, and I would think that they would look pretty cool.

So I'm no going to call it galaxy fabric (except for the title on this page, so that you could find this page in a  search engine). I'm going to call it cosmic fabric, seeing as how I'm not exactly painting the Virgo supercluster here. It's more... nebulous. But cosmic fabric has a nice ring to it, don't you think?

I'm working with a square foot of fabric, (well, more like 36" x 44")  which I bought at Joanne's for 6 bucks on clearance. It's a poly-cotton blend.

  • Black fabric of choice
  • Bleach
  • Colored fabric paints of your choice (I also used acrylics)
  • White and Black fabric paint
  • A form of sparkle paint - glitter glue can work
  • Gold and/or Silver paint
  • Paint Pens (I like Posca)
  • Paint brushes of various sizes
  • Sponges with different sized holes
  • Old toothbrush

Depending on the kind of black fabric you got, the bleach will make different colored splotches. A dark dark blue makes pink, in some cases. Take this into account when purchasing your fabric. You may want to make a few testers.

Lay out your fabric on a flat surface. Put your bleach in a spray bottle, and dilute it a little with water so it's less harsh on the fabric. You want to spray a lot on some areas, so that it pools, and less in others, so it looks like a star field. 

I used salt, a silk painting technique, in the pools of bleach to create intricate supernova designs. Put rock salt in a pile, then spray with bleach, and wait. The result is fantastic.

Cool, right?

Wait until the bleach is dry to the touch before washing it out. You don't want to damage your fabric, so it all has to go. I recommend waiting ten to fifteen minutes after spraying to make sure the process is complete. Run your fabric under cold water until it comes out clear.

Wash and dry (you can use a washing machine, no problem with that) to prepare for painting.

Decide where you want the center of your nebulas to be and start sponging on white. Play around with your materials to see the different ways you can apply the color, so you're ready for the next ones. 

I liked using a large holes sponge around the large bleach spots, and a thick round brush for the small ones. Lightly bounce the brush up and down on the fabric and watch the cosmic clusters appear.

Surround the white with the colours of your choice. You can blend them by mixing different shades of your initial color and dabbing the lighter ones around the center, but using the vibrant colors straight from the bottle work just as well.

Add some gold with the driest song you have - go ahead, try it! - around the clusters. 

Sponge on some black (I may have overdone it, but that's for you to decide) around the clusters. Make sure to overlap slightly with the color, it creates depth. Don't cover up ALL the bleach spots, it removed from  the overall effect.

After the black has sufficiently dried, take a sponge and add the sparkle paint around and inside the clusters. I used a "confetti" mix that worked very well, as it's not too ostentatious.

Now grab some gold, white, and sparkle paint, and use a toothbrush to one at a time spackle them on the fabric. I found acrylics to be very runny, so make sure you're got a hand under there to catch large blobs dropping off your finger. if you do get blobs, use the end of a paintbrush to pull the cardinal points, so that you have a glittering star.

Vary the sizes and density of your spackled stars. This will add a lot of depth.

Using metallic pens and paint pens, start dotting everything, everywhere. Vary the concentration to get a full effect. Make sure to apply light pressure for tiny stars, and to draw out some large ones as well. Don't be afraid to add some shimmering stars, classic stars, or even constellations.

I bought Office Max brand markers, which were half the price of sharpies, and had more variety. You can draw other cosmic things on your fabric (TARDIS, anyone?) just as you want - it's yours, after all.

Follow the instructions on your paint for drying. I kept my fabric flat for four hours, and steamed it under an iron to set the colors. Allow 72 hours before washing.

After my 72 hours are up, I'll start working on the skirt. I'm very excited to see if this works!
And yes, I am making a skirt with one square yard of fabric. Come check it out on Tuesday (or wednesday, not sure when I'll post the tutorial yet).

Have fun with your cosmic fabric! Tell me what worked for you and what didn't. Any ideas, techniques? Let me know in the comments below!

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